Disney+ gets global rights to BBC's ‘Doctor Who’ series

The Walt Disney Company has inked a deal that will see the popular BBC series "Doctor Who" land on Disney+ around the world.

The deal was announced Tuesday morning by Ncuti Gatwa, the actor tapped to play the next Doctor, during a taping of "Live with Kelly and Ryan." It was later confirmed in a press release issued by the BBC's Media Centre.

"We are thrilled to announce this exciting global partnership with Disney, who are the perfect partners to bring this very British show to the rest of the world," Charlotte Moore, the BBC's chief content officer, said in a statement. "Joining forces with Disney will elevate the show to even greater heights and reach new audiences, so it's an extremely exciting time for fans in the UK and across the world."

Alisa Bowen, the executive in charge of Disney+, said the show will stream on the Disney platform in more than 150 markets around the world starting later next year.

"The series is a perfect addition to our ever-growing catalog of global content that continues to make Disney Plus the home for exceptional storytelling," Bowen said in a statement.

The show's move to Disney+ was not unexpected: A Bloomberg report published this past summer explained Disney's interest in securing streaming rights for Doctor Who, though the complexity of a deal was unclear from the story.

The deal came into greater focus on Tuesday, with the BBC retaining domestic broadcast and streaming rights in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Disney+ scoring international streaming rights to the show.

When new episodes of “Doctor Who” land on Disney+ in November 2023, the show will stop airing in the United States on BBC America and will no longer be available to stream on AMC+. (AMC Networks operates BBC America.) Older episodes will still be available to stream on HBO Max, a spokesperson told the entertainment publication Decider.

Doctor Who joins a growing roster of familiar content brands on Disney+, which includes TV shows and movies from a handful of other franchises, including Star Wars, Marvel Comics and the Simpsons.  In August, media industry analyst Andrew Freedman told Fierce Video that franchises like “Doctor Who” held significant cultural value for streaming services who seek to tap into fandoms and viewer sentiment in order to grow and retain subscribers.

"Those franchises are great to market your service, to bring an audience into your service, and also to keep them there," Freedman, a research analyst and partner with the investment firm Hedgeye, said in an interview. "If you think about Doctor Who, it sits within its own universe...[and] if you look at what Disney has done with Marvel, it really fits in with their streaming framework.”